Saturday, December 29, 2012


As mentioned a few blog posts back, my 1TB external HD is in somewhat of a stasis. Now recently, my camera's shutter button was failing. I managed to get in one more shoot before it almost failed to to "click" every time. I went to the service center a few days back and while inspecting my gear they noticed my kit lens was having problems as well. It was going to take a few weeks [since it was the holidays] and money I didn't have at the moment to get it fixed. I just told them i'd be back in January.

On the way home, I was contemplating to ask my sister for funds just incase she had extra cash. My younger sister came home from Singapore to celebrate the Holidays with us. Lucky for me, she knows how to save her money. Even luckier, she agreed to lend me the funds I needed and I could still use the camera [but only in Manual settings] during the New Year celebration.

Moving on...

I woke up early this morning and everything felt normal.

We had prior plans to go to Manila and spend the day with Granma and our sister and then go back home along with them but the plan changed. Due to the fact that the places we wanted to go were mostly likely jam-packed with people. We can't go around much with a senior citizen in tow. We moved it this coming sunday and hopefully we can settle on where to go.

During the time they [Mom talking to my Granma on the phone] were still talking, I turned on my PC thinking of squeezing in a few hours of time online before going to Manila.

Suddenly, something went wrong.

The screen got stuck at the "Verifying DMI Pool" screen. A few restarts later, as well as mini heart attacks, it was still the same. I borrowed my older brother's iPad and googled about the issue. It seems that something was wrong with either the software or hardware. I read a few troubleshooting tips and a few articles about the issue but it didn't help.

I was irritated, frustrated and dumb founded as to how it happened. Good thing I posted my problem in a particular facebook group of old friends from a former workplace. I knew that they had enough knowledge to help me out.

While waiting for replies on my post, my older bro also researched on the issue and was trying to help me out. He tried getting me a copy of my operating systems' installer CD as it contained a recovery program. When I read my friends' replies, most of it was the same thing. One of my more tech savvy friends suggested I take out my internal HD and try running it externally on another PC. I could've done that ASAP but I was afraid to find out if ever the HD was the one that's borked or not. My older bro suggested we wait for the CD, so I did.

Before we went about the business of trying to fix my PC, me and my siblings went out a bit and visited the nearby mall. We had my younger brother's PC fitted a new RAM and got a few things and then went home. On the drive home we came across an accident. A military man was face down on the ground, his motorcycle broken near him. A few early responders were at the scene trying to take care of him and talk to him. It seems he was sideswiped by a car [the said car and driver/passengers were still at the scene]. As we drove by, it looked like he was moving a bit and talking. We all hoped he was going to be okay.

I then realized how small my current problem was and how I fretted over something trivial. Sure it was an unfortunate and unexpected occurance BUT it could've been worse.

In the end, we found out that my C drive somehow got corrupted and we had to reformat and reinstall everything. Good thing 80% of my data is in my D drive. So it wasn't a total loss. I just hope that it doesn't happen again.

I can't take these unexpected and unfortunate events.

moving on..
~ the alansong ~

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let's talk TV: A Young Doctor's Notebook

While wandering around the net looking for things, I chanced upon a news article with the words "Jon Hamm", "Daniel Radcliffe", "Mini-series" and "Doctor". It made me well curious enough to click the link and read the article.

I was surprised to see Jon and Dan doing a tv mini-series together about the experiences of a young doctor. We all know Daniel Radcliffe from the Harry Potter movies, I haven't really seen his other works though so I thought it might be worth a watch. I also know Jon Hamm via Mad Men but I really didn't follow the series. For me, Jon Hamm's memorable performances in Saturday Night Live [especially his "Sergio!" skit] was absolutely fantastic.

...and who could resist the possibility of seeing this?

Anyway, moving on...


The story revolves around a  certain Mikhail Bulgakov during his early days of being a doctor. Daniel Radcliffe plays a young Mikhail while Jon plays the older one.

The first episode starts with the Older Mikhail [Jon] in an office while two [what seems like Russian?] officers are either looking for something or currently confiscating everything in the room. Older Mikhail then chances upon an old black notebook which he reads and it goes into a flashback of his younger self [ Daniel] being taken to a remote hospital in the Smolensk province.

During the time, the Young Mikhail is fresh out of med school and as he mentioned got the highest of marks from his class. However as the episode progresses, he finds out that the actual real thing is way more nerve-wracking than what med school had offered. 

Aside from that, he also has to surpass the certain stigma that his predecessor has left behind. It seems as if the previous doctor did things the right way every time and the staff never lets him forget it. And also trying to convince the medical staff that he really was a doctor [the staff mentioned he was either too young..or too small] and a good one at that.

A nice thing they did was that the Older Mikhail shows up in the flashback as some sort of spirit guide for his younger self. He can only be seen by his younger self and converses and interacts with him.

Overall, it was a very fun first serving of this mini-series. Daniel Radcliffe looks more rugged than usual but during some of the more goofy and awkward moments, you can't help but see a little HP sometimes. Either that of HP really has been imprinted on me that much. It's nice to see Jon in a more relaxed and comedic role [at least not too comedic like in SNL]. 

It's a bit sad that there will only be 4 episodes and [if we use the first episode as basis] that each will only last 30 minutes. Still if it's going to be as interesting as the first episode than it'll be worth it.

Besides, who cannot resist watching these two together on the TV screen?

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's been awhile..

In retrospect, the past 3 months hasn't been that great overall. It had its moments for sure but overall it was just so-so.

Working for my Mom hasn't been that...err...productive. I haven't really given any work as of late. Even i i'm not spending money and such, it would be nice to have some stable flow of income....especially this December.


It's funny how the internet connect people nowadays. You would be having conversations with people you haven't really met yet or talk to people you thought wouldn't get a chance to talk to. The downside of that is, when you get to meet them in person....things get a little awkward.

That's what I am currently experiencing. In my case, an event being held by a group of talented people [Spidersilk] will be having their 1st Anniversary gathering this weekend. I've only attended one of their gatherings along with my girlfriend [who was real-life friends with one of the girls of Spidersilk]. Unfortunately, we haven't gone to the rest of the subsequent gatherings afterwards.

I've known one of the girls from the group albeit only online but I did meet her once during a convention. I doubt I left a lasting impression [trust me when I say that I don't]. But i've been sort of conversing with the Spidersilk founders via Plurk and such, so at least I get to talk to talented people online.

With their coming gathering, I was kind of thinking of going. Sadly, i'll be going alone since my girlfriend is still in Australia. But...I'm afraid that if I go I won't really know anyone per se. I would possibly "know" a few people but only thru the internet and online conversations. It's going to be awkward for me introducing myself to people there. At least if my girlfriend was with me, we can be both awkward together and I can have someone to talk to.

Also if I did get to go, I wonder what i'll be doing there...hahaha...I'm not that talented enough to paint or draw. Geez, this feels like highschool again LOL.

Anyhoo, here is their awesome poster for their event.


Time flew by so fast...well, sort of...and it's now December.

It felt like only yesterday when they were announcing that it was still 90+ days till Christmas.

I'm not sure what kind of Christmas it's going to be like. Sure I won't have much financially to fully splurge on gifts for me and my family but ever since that fiasco that happened at my previous workplace, I have already told myself that it's going to be another pocket-pinching least for me.

It's going to be the first Christmas [hopefully last] me and my girlfriend will spend far apart...literally. Although we didn't spend our first Christmas two years ago together [at least on Christmas eve] since I was on the graveyard shift, we were still able to spend Christmas day together. The Christmas after that, I was lucky enough to get the day-off on Christmas Eve but my girlfriend was spending it with her family in Tarlac. Hopefully next year will be a bit different. :]

I think this coming Christmas will be also the first time the family will be together since my younger sister will be coming home from Singapore and my granma will be coming and staying over. It'll be a full house in a few weeks time, so i'm a bit excited because of it.


Slowly but surely I've been hauling my stuff from Manila to Pampanga whenever me and my bro go there. It's much more convenient with a private vehicle. I haven't really hauled most of my clothes since sometimes i'll be staying over there.

The transition of moving back home has been a bit smooth. It's also sad since most of my current friends are in Manila and most of the friends I know in Pampanga have moved or migrated.

I also can't go to events as much and I also can't go deal with other people hence it seems like my toy-collecting hobby will be on hiatus.

I can still go to shoots though with accordance to schedule and the current financial state i'm in.


With the year ending, I am hoping to hear some good news.

Lord knows I need it.

forward and onward!
~ the alansong ~

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lost At Sea.


It'll get to you. Though most of the time, you go on with your life oblivious. At times, lax and comfortable with your current bearings.

And happens and throws a curve ball.

You can be amazed how one thing can lead to another, into a chain of events utterly out of your control. When it's all done, you just stare and go blank with all that's happened. Rationalizing why it happened and why it shouldn't have. 


We all go through denial. In everyday and in every choice we make. It doesn't make life any easier but you'd be surprised how some people live in a constant state of denial.


I seriously think that whenever I get comfortable with my current line of work something happens. The facts are there, I'm not sure whether the employment gods are playing a trick on me...or they're actually trying to tell me something.

It was all good times when "the boat" was purring like a well-oiled machine. Sure we had sort of an unorthodox way of doing our thing and we always had our fun but we never really let that interfere with the whole reason we're there for. Everything was going great until something weird happened to me that put me out of commission.

Prior to coming back, I've heard that "the boat" is now sinking. Which really was a big bummer. I've grown accustomed to the "ways of the boat" and the people. Everyone there has grown on me as they've made life a bit more bearable and easier. Irregardless, when I came back on board, it just really wasn't the same. Sailing for one last time, we had one final hurrah before most of us went separate ways. "The boat", a legend, now dismantled and rotting beneath the sea.

Opportunity came knocking when a former "boat" member told me try my luck at the company he was working for. It got me excited as he was working for a well-known company. With luck, I was able to get hired but assigned to work on something that, to be honest, was flat-out boring. The people were's just what we were doing was boring.

But in the coming months, I somehow enjoyed what I was doing...or at least trying to. That's when things happened again and a few of us needed to go "float" for awhile until we hear some news. It was...sort of a welcome thing for me as it would mean a new opportunity...and hopefully a more interesting game.

I thought it was pure luck when I got called back early than what I have expected. I also thought it was pure luck when I got assigned to something new and to a whole new set of people. It was a bit rough from the start but I eventually got the hang of how they work things on that team. The work was pretty much alright and the people were more than accommodating.

Then something happened again and people had to go. I thought that this was the end...again. But it wasn't, thankfully it wasn't. We did have to work a bit more and sacrifice a bit more but we managed and we got over the hill. Things were running normal again and enjoyable. However, something was looming over our heads that we expected to come sooner or later. We really just paid no mind to it as worrying will make matters worse for us.
And then it eventually happened, what transpired just a few months ago repeated itself.  Trying to be optimistic was all I could do. Until they called me back for something different. Rather than waiting for a call to go back to work, I am now waiting for a call to get my final pay. Oh well, with all the new things being implemented there, I guess it worked out.

From all those experiences, I feel like a prank is being played on me. A cosmic joke I am not aware of. Every time I get to a point where I am comfortable with my surroundings, I suddenly get a curve ball...and for the life of me I cannot swing good enough to stop it.


I've come to some sort of realization that I may have become an "invalid" before even reaching 30. I know a lot of people abusing their bodies more and yet here I am. I have stopped most if not all of my vices... yet here I am. Stricken with an unusual condition a few years back that has now left me incapable of doing certain things. 

Funny, I thought that I had an mature [well....sometimes] mind trapped in a young man's body. It's actually the other way around.

...and I don't know how long it'll last.

....that...scares the bejeezus outta me.


~ currently drifting and lost at sea ~
the alansong

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Man overboard.

Last week, my external 1TB hard drive fell from a table. It wasn't that much of a very hard fall so I didn't think it would matter as the casing seems to be sturdy. Little did I know how very wrong I was.

So I picked the thing up checked [it seemed nothing was wrong] and tried to access it but the HD wasn't lighting up and it wasn't detected by the PC. What happened next was frantic and nervous google searches and chats with my friends with regards to external drive troubles. I checked the thing again, made sure nothing was making noise or even moving inside. Then I noticed the usb port plug was a bit...skewed.

I plugged the usb back in, placed a small amount of pressure and the HD lit up and began doing the motions of booting up...or so I thought. Once I let the pressure off, the whole drive turned off and even if I did manage to let the power stay on for a bit, the drive itself wasn't detected by the PC. So I started fidgeting and fidgeting until the usb port plug broke off and fell inside the case.

With that came another round of frantic google searches and chats. Trying to solder the usb port plug back in wasn't least if I was the one to do it..then again, it would really take the hands of a pro to solder the damn thing on properly to make it to work [I read about this in a forum]. With soldering out of the equation, I resorted to removing the hard drive from the case and try running it via another enclosure and or just directly plug it inside my PC.

A friend let me borrow his own HD enclosure for testing and gave a few advice. The HD was running inside the enclosure and it seemed ok as my friend mentioned but it still wasn't detected by my friend's PC. He then said that his enclosure might be faulty and that it might need a few trues so he let me bring it back home with me. After a few more tries at home, the drive still wasn't detected.

However, I could see it in Disk Management as "not Initialized" and "unallocated". Another friend helped me go through the motions [via my bro's iPad Skype Vid chat] of putting it inside my PC [I am not a very hardware-type of guy] and then trying a few recovery programs to see if I can retrieve anything.

A few days and alot of recovery programs later, I still couldn't get any files from it.I have read from the official Western Digital forums that ALOT of other people has/had/have been experiencing the SAME troubles I have. Then a few admins stated that the data inside the HD are encrypted so it's really going to take some cash to get data back.....that or soldering the usb back on [I am entertaining the idea].

Prior to even trying to recover the files, I have surrendered to the fact that I have already lost everything. I don't care much for the music, videos, games in it. Those things can be easily re-acquired. I am most sad to lose four years worth of pictures from conventions, photo shoots, photo walks, vacations, events and daily life. I am sad to lose the written documents I have there as most of them were unfinished poems, stories and such. All those memories gone [or trapped until I get the drive decrypted]. The folly of not having a back-up of important things, I know now how important it should've been to find the time and made effort in backing-up files.

Nevertheless, people have helped me not think so much about such loss. I guess I can make new memories, take new pictures, write new things. I'm trying to see the positives and the silver linings from what matter how cliche it seems. I think it's better than dwelling on it and sulking.

~ Sailing forward ~
the alansong

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let's Talk Movies: The Campaign

This movie almost coincided with the emergence of "campaign" posters that we are now seeing along our streets, walls and etc.

But that's not why I wanted to watch this. I wanted to watch this movie because of Will Ferrell, as he is my favorite comedian, and because of Zach Galifianakis, as he really shined in the Hangover movies.

The story starts with the re-election campaign of Will Ferrell's character, incumbent Cam Brady. He is set to win [again] because no one wants to run against him. That is until Zach's character, Marty Huggins, puts in his name in the race. Marty seems out of place in the political world but with the help of his Backers and "Campaign manager", he's more than ready to serve his district.

What happens next may or may not be a reflection of what really happens in and behind the scenes of an electoral campaign. It clearly has the political mudslinging but in a more less serious tone.

Will does a good job portraying a man in office. He had alot of practice in SNL, playing Pres. Bush. In fact, in some points of the movie, I think he was channeling his Bush character. Zach also did a good job being the regular joe who is thrust into the limelight. His portrayal of Marty in itself was pretty hilarious.

The movie is not just about politics but it has alot of underlying themes to it. From family issues/drama/values to loving your country to standing up to what you believe in. Amidst all the comedy, there are lessons to be learned. that was pretty nice of them to include.

There also alot of other great actors in very great roles. From SNL Legend Dan Akroyd and the Great John Lithgow to current SNL cast member Jason Sudekis. A few cameos by great actors are included too. Let's not also forget the news anchors and reporters who acted as themselves.

The movie shows us the dark side of politics. How it can manipulate the good men into something they are not. It shows us how some people in power aren't really in control of themselves but are more puppets to something more greater..or sinister. But it also shows us that there is also good in everyone and that they have the chance to do good and be good if they are given the opportunity.

This movie is a great watch and offers a great mixture of serious and comedic tones. It's a breath of fresh air if you've been following Philippine politics as of late. You'll definite laugh out loud and leave the cinema very entertained.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Little Things

Sorry guys and gals, this entry is going to be a whole lotta feels.

As most..hopefully at least some..of you know my girlfriend is now currently in Australia studying and as of yesterday working part-time as well [Yay for her! She's been looking for work there for the longest time..].

With that, she will be away for a year...a year and a month at most. We have a few communication lines open to us so that we can talk to each other and see each other while she is away. But I can't say that it hasn't been difficult.

The first week was really hard...I couldn't sleep well and I kept wondering if she was okay over there. the next few weeks went well as I was assured that she was doing fine and that she was having fun at school.

Again, I am not regretting my decision of letting her go over there because I don't think that that's even a decision I could make for her. It's just that I am just missing her...ALOT.

We've been together for more than 2 years now and we've spent almost everyday we could together that we've grown accustomed to each other being close by. Now that she's a bit far away than usual, you cannot fault me for missing her badly.

It's the little things that kill me and make me miss her more.

The way she pinches my tummy and its sides.
When she rests her head on my shoulder.
Her hugs.
When she holds my hands.
The way she laughs, the way she smiles.
The way she can brighten my day with a text message no longer than two symbols [which are : and *].
The way she greets me in the morning.
When she pouts.
When she scolds me for not cutting my nails [..which I think I better do in a bit LOL].
When she always reminds me to bring a jacket and umbrella to work.
Her baking.
The way her eyes open up when she sees something cute/something she likes.
How she tries to guess what my surprise to her is.
When we eat together.
When we watch TV/movies together.
Window shopping/Mall walking.

And the list goes on and on actually. It's sad and depressing but it's something we both endure daily. It's one of those things we have to sacrifice in order for us to be prepared for the future.

With her way over there in AU, it makes me realize how she really has made a mark in my life and how lucky I am to have her in it. I'd be completely lost right now if it weren't for her.

But...I must admit that I do get jealous of the other couples that I see, be it strangers or my friends. It's all because of those little things. You can't blame me of course, it's just that I do miss my girlfriend and if you haven't known by now...I am a bit more emotional and sentimental than most people thought I am. Even those little things can get me really affected. Then again, it's the memories of those little things that also makes excited when she comes back home.

Till she comes back, i'll be waiting.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Let's Talk Comics: KWENTILLION

I was wandering around a bookstore when I saw something that caught my eye. It was almost the size of a regular magazine but it wasn't really you're typical one.

Kwentillion [derived from the words, Kwento meaning Story and Million meaning..uh, Million of course] felt like something I needed to I did.

I haven't really been following any other Philippine comic books other than Pugad Baboy, Beerkada and Life in Progress. It was just only last year that I was really getting immersed into it. My girlfriend was influential in opening those doors for me. Introducing me to the Trese also helpled that I had a few friends that were launching their own indie comic as well.

After going to last year's Komikon, I was starving for more but I really couldn't get my hands on anything [except for copies of SkyWorld]. So seeing Kwentillion was a big bright spot in my day.

The cover sort of has a pop-culture feel..the magnificent cover art is reminiscient of the video game character Edea from Final Fantasy 8. It also states of containing a whopping 100 pages of comics and fiction, so I knew I was in for a ride once I started reading.

Kwentillion begins with a story titled, "The Last Datu" written and drawn by two familiar people, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo of Trese fame. I love the Trese books but I just wish that they deviated from it with this new story. It almost has the same feel. Aswang/Monsters, a female lead, a Father who sacrifices seems all to familiar. Still it is it's own story and it is still quite enjoyable.

The next story was something that we all prolly thought about when we first played Super Mario. What if we had a Pinoy/Philippine version of him? It we ever did, I'd want it to be "Poso Maximo". A war veteran turned plumber. This story was drawn a bit cartoony but it works. It also didn't have any dialogue but again, it still works. You will still be able to follow and get the story even without it. Poso Maximo is pretty straight forward. It is fun, it has action and it has a pretty light-hearted ending. I wouldn't mind seeing more adventures from him.

The next story actually surprised me as it was not a comic but a short story. Nevertheless, "Spin Man" is a story of it's own. The fact that it can relate to alot of the comic readers out there adds to it's allure.

The next few pages took me back to the real world and made me realize that I was actually reading a magazine. The next pages were full of different interesting articles. From Interviews with Manix Abrera and Chester Ocampo, to book reviews, to an article about Fan Fiction topping it of with 6 color pages of wonderful art along with info on their creators and where to follow them on the world wide web.

Then another story...and it's my favorite one this issue. Entitled "High Society", it started like it will be another one of those stories with a supernatural theme. I was wrong...more or less. While it did have a supernatural theme, it also delved into one of my favorite things...Steam Punk. The story is set during the Spanish times and it featured Philippine Mythological Creatures AND Steam Punk. What is not to like there?

Kwentillion closes with a genre that we really haven't seen much in Philippine Comics...well, at least I haven't. It was Science Fiction...and Sky Gypsies was just like that but with a more Pinoy tone. This story was pretty exceptional and very Pinoy as well [especially on how the Police acted near the last panels LOL].

After that, it's just a How-to-draw a Tikbalang and a chart of Philippine Folklore Magic. Pretty informative I must say.

All in all, the stories were like a breath of fresh air. I like how they had a short summary of the writers and artists prior to starting the stories. At least people might not who wrote/draw their fave story in Kwentillion and that they might be able to stalk them online (LOL). I also liked that they included short stories...written fiction. It actually made me think of submitting a few stories of my own and wishing so hard that it'll get printed. I just wish they had something else at the end of the an introductory Letters to the Editor and such.

Kwentillion is a very awesome find for me and I am lucky to be able to get a copy. It has a few stories that everyone can enjoy...although the written fiction entry might be a little TL:DR or long and boring for some. It was still a very great first issue and hopefully there'll be a second.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Hardest Thing..

So, yesterday, my girlfriend left for Australia. She went there to study Patisserie and work on the side as well. She will be there for a year.

Initially, I was of course, surprised at her decision to study abroad. There were many schools that she can enroll in for that locally. But I really didn't argue with her about it. My first worry was about her being so far away. My second was if I can handle her being away for so long.

But I supported her decision. If she had an opportunity to hone her skill in a better school overseas then it was a very good chance for her. She did tell me that if I wanted her to stay that she'll stay. I dunno if she knows [but she prolly did] but I really wanted her to stay really bad. I really wanted to be selfish and tell her not to go...that she can find something that won't cost alot.


I didn't. As mentioned above, I supported her decision...and it killed me everyday. Even moreso when the time for her to go was near.

I am not regretting my decision to her go abroad. I am happy that she was finally there [as of this morning] and is ready to start her journey to become the best she can be. For that, I am extremely proud of her.

Then again, alot of people might ask why I chose to let her go abroad if I really didn't want to in the first place? Why did you choose to let her go if o'll be sad and depressed about it?

I didn't want to be someone that didn't support the dream of someone I love. I don't want her to regret not grasping the opportunity that was given. I would want her to have the chance to chase her dream and if possible, for her to achieve it.

Sure, i'll be sad, miserable and depressed but I know in the end it will be all worth it.

Some people have said that it's just the first few days and that i'll get used to it. But I don't want to get used to my girlfriend being gone. I don't want to get used to the fact that I won't be able to hug her, hold her hand, tell her jokes..and just plain be with her. It sounds a bit masochistic but I want to be sad and miserable and depressed because it fully solidifies the fact that everything is okay when she's around and with me. It makes me realize how wonderful it is to have her around with me.

I've always felt and said that a year goes by fast. But this time around, I am not sure it will go fast enough. This will prolly be the hardest and longest 365 days of my life so far.

...but I know it'll be well worth it.

Batten down the hatches! Hoist them sails! We're in for a wild ride!

- the alansong -

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Talk Figures!: A few random talking points.

There's has been alot to talk about with regards to action figures this 2012. 

It's almost like it's a very good year for toys. Marvel Legends has returned, Marvel Universe figures are still coming our way, GI Joe's 30th Anniversary is still ongoing along with the coming movie and toyline respectively, Star Wars has come back on the big screen and toy shelves with a few new things, Hero movies will be coming as well as their merch; with Avengers on the opening salvo. Other than that, there are still a few good things that are coming.

The US has an edge of the incoming wave of new toys. I have lurked and posted a few times at Toyark, a popular site and forum for toys, and I have read the plight and success of collectors fro the US. 

Even if the distribution of new wave and toys are a bit late, it will still come to them. Most surprisingly, most of their retail stores have put a few new toylines on clearance and it hasn't been even two months since it came out. I have also read about how a Toyark member is selling loose MU figures for $20 for 4 figures and whether or not the figs are hard to find, it's still the same price. "Just helping out fellow collectors", he mentioned in one of his posts. I was envious ad was immediately contemplating how to buy from this guy.

Here in the Philippines, we're lucky to have toy distributions for new toylines and figures. Even more lucky if they place any new stuff on the shelves. Markdowns do not happen until it's almost a year [or two] hat has passed. And unlike that Toyark member, most of the collectors in the community here have an "every man for himself" mindset. There are only a few who feel that collectors should help fellow collectors, no strings attached. I am glad that I have met fellow collectors who have real passion for what they're doing and not just thinkng of how to make money.

Moving on, as stated above...the Avengers movie is coming to theaters soon and the movie merch has already landed on our shores and shelves. I was lucky enough to attend the Movie Toy Launch and grab a few target figures. It makes me more hungry to want to watch the movie though. Speaking of Avengers figures, prior to them being released, there has already been a very lengthy debate about the figures' lack of articulation.

We were all a bit shocked and surprised when the initial product shots and descriptions about the movie figs came out. I've heard all of the talking about the lack of articulation. Mostly negative of course, but why won't it be? In the advent of newer figures being made and new articulation being put on them, Hasbro went all retro and made the Avengers 3.75 figs look and feel like they're from the 90's. I was a bit disappointed myself but with all things said and done, I'm just happy that they didn't have less than what they have right now.

I have three of the movie figures, an Loki and Ultimates Thor and Hawkeye, and all three are fun to play and fiddle with despite the fact they are missing wrist, ankle, waist and torso articulation. But irregardless, they all play the same as other figures. Sometimes, figures suffer if they have a ton of articulation *cough*Daredevil/Bullseye Comic pack*cough*. These figs were just right to me. As a kid during the 90's, I played alot with Toybiz Marvel figures with almost the same [or even less] articulation and had alot of fun. But I still hope that this won't greatly affect everything and that this won't be a trend, ie. less articulation and a higher price.

And I guess less articulation won't be a problem for MOC collector's since they don't even open their figures.....and yet, I stll see a few rants from MOC collectors with regards to it. *shrugs* Oh well...

From lack of articulation we now move on to packaging. Recently, MOC pictures of GI Joe: retaliation figures has been seen on the net and alot of people, again, have been stating that it looks "cheap", "ugly", "looks like a knock-off". But I understand them as GI Joe packaging has always been somewhat nice and clean to look at. The packing from the previous movie, Rise of Cobra, was pretty standard and neat. Then came Pursuit of Cobra which reverted somewhat to a redesigned 25th Anniversary look. Then the 30th Anniversary and Renegades figure packaging completely overhauled and simplified it more. 

For me, I don't get all the hubbub about the new packaging. Since I open figures and stash the card/package away, I don't mind it at all. I think that the packaging is still ok. It is part of movie merch after all. On this issue, I guess MOC collectors would now have a say in the discussion...while openers like me should let it pass.

One thing I couldn't let pass was an open letter to Hasbro with regards to the new toyline of "Movie Heroes" Star Wars figures. It was not a rant without alot of good points. Mainly on repackaging old figs without any significant change at all and the lack of articulation as well. I definitely agree with him bu then again repackaging an old figure is good especially if it was a bit hard to find. It was still an interesting read for me.

Even with the advent of all the new releases, all of the collectors here just wish for one thing. That they will all be released and sold to the mass market/shops. All the talks about pricing, articulation and packaging will come second. As long as we are all able to get our hands on them without any trouble from overpricing from hobby shops and sellers, it's all good. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The 28th Birthday~

When you get a little older, your birthdays will be a little less extravagant. But I guess that depends on if you have work on your birthday or not or whether you have friends and family who had time to prepare a party for you.

This year, I turned 28 and I still feel like I really don’t act like someone my age. And like previous years, I didn’t have much of a birthday celebration. However, this was my first birthday with my girlfriend so it still was a bit special.

Beef Misono, Shrimp Tempura with Fried[?] Veggies and [Possibbly] Butered Veggies

I had work the day of my birthday so I celebrated with my granmum a few days earlier. We went out to buy ingredients for her spaghetti. Afterwards, we ate at Tokyo, Tokyo. Why would this be something to be blogged about you ask? Well, this is the first time I was able to convince my granmum to eat at a Japanese restaurant…even if we really didn’t order something that was purely Japanese. Anyhoo, she enjoyed eating there so I guess this won’t be our last time to eat there. When we got home she prepared and cooked her spaghetti that really tasted good. It’s her own recipe and she’s been cooking it for me and my siblings on every birthday we had since birth.

The day before my birthday, I stayed over at my girlfriend’s house. I promised her that I’ll be staying and sleeping over since I can’t be with her on my birthday. As soon as I got there, we went out to buy ingredients for spaghetti. My girlfriend says that her mom has a delicious recipe. I can’t turn down good food.
So we bought 2 Kilos worth of pasta and it was more than enough for me, my girlfriend and her family. My girlfriend attempted to make me a cake but it somehow didn’t go as what she planned. But the end result was still edible and very delicious. Another added bonus was that my girlfriend’s mom cooked beef caldereta for lunch. Caldereta is one of my favorite foods ever, so having it on my birthday was really awesome.

Before the day ended, my girlfriend had a few of her old friends come over and we had a few drinks. I guess that’s a great way to greet my birthday. I had great food, good company…what more could I ask?
I got enough sleep that night and was awake even before my alarm rang. Surprisingly, I haven’t received a single text message of birthday greetings. It’s a bit understandable since I don’t really text other people much unlike before. I was a bit disappointed that my bestfriend didn’t send me a text. Usually, it was her text’s that I first receive during my past birthdays. I guess time just caught up with us, oh well.

My girlfriend woke up very early as well to greet me and to make me breakfast. She also fixed and packed spaghetti and caldereta for my lunch. I must say that it was very sweet of her to do so since she doesn't really wake up that early let alone do something like cooking and fixing food. It really started my birthday off very well.

When I got to work, there weren't that much people who I really got to know who knew about my birthday. Mostly, when people find out that it's your birthday, all they want is for you to treat them to something. Anyhoo, it was just another normal work day for me except for that fact that I had oodles of food. In addition to the spag and caldereta, I received a free Bday Blowout Pizza from Shakey's! So me and my shift buddy, Pete, both had satisfied stomachs that day. 

the free Bday pizza, spag and Caldereta

The ret of the day went on as normal. My celphone still stayed quiet but I didn't mind. I haven't really got around to check my Facebook account since I can't access it at work but I feel that at least people have greeted me there. By the time I got home, and after another round of my granmum's delicious spaghetti, I got on and was surprised to see the people who went out their way to greet me.

 I replied and liked each and every greeting and thanked each and every one as well. It turned out to be a very ok birthday. At least I was able to celebrate it with people I love. At least I was still able to celebrate it. 

OH! I almost forgot. What's a birthday without gifts? Unfortunately, I didn't get much. I just treated myself to a new pair of pants, granmum got me two new shirts and my girlfriend "got me" me a very cool perfume. I always wanted to try out wearing a nice perfume.

this smells so good!

To a new adventure o/
- the alansong-

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Very Late Valentines Day Entry..

Usually, when Valentines Day comes around, I was single as a solitary pencil in your pencil case [do kids even use those anymore? hahahah]. During college, I used to give a rose to my female friends and granmum...aaaand possibly a few to whoever my crush was or the girl I was courting at the time.

This was my first time celebrating Valentines with someone and moreso with a little messy girl that has a messy kitchen.

Unfortunately, with the both of us working, we couldn't really spend it together. We did spend the weekend before Valentines together and made it our somewhat "unofficial" Valentines date" but that didn't stop me from going out of my way to surprise her on the 14th.

The whole plan was to drop by her office after I get off from work and surprise her with Valentines gifts. It seemed like a good enough plan. I sent her a message through gmail chat on what chocolates she'd want to eat forever. She replied without ever getting a hint that she told me what she will be getting. Pretty cheap and underhanded I'm sure but just so she doesn't think that she'll be wary of my surprise.

The 2nd part of my surprise was the most hardest to get as almost everyone is buying them and their prices skyrocketed. Ut was hard enough to get roses but Yellow [her fave color] ones proved to be the hardest. During my lunch break, I scouted Robinson's Pioneer for that flower stall they had opened a few days ago. Why Rob Pioneer? I work nearby :D.

Anyhoo, the flower place was right there where it was and unsurprisingly, their prices were jacked up high. I checked their wares and planned to return and buy the flowers after work as they would prolly wilt if I bought them then and there and brought them to the office.

The whole plan almost blew up in my face as I got back to that stall after work. I never really imagined that there would be a whole shitload of guys swarming the whole stall.

I tried to find the flowers I picked out a few hours earlier but they were gone. There wasn't anything left in yellow and the others seemed dull. With that, I walked away and just got her the chocolates and went on my way. I was then regretting not buying earlier but then again wondered that if I did, would they have looked as fresh as they were a few hours ago. I just told myself to give her a 2nd surprise a few days after as the whole thing felt empty without a rose.

I was actually a bit late getting to her office. Their dinner break was already over and I was wondering if she'd be able to go down and meet me at the Starbucks Cafe where we regularly meet/go to at the 3rd floor. All my worrying was put aside when I saw a stall selling flowers a few steps after I walked inside their building. Naturally, the good ones have been gone and there weren't any nice yellow ones either. I just picked the biggest and [for me] last great looking rose and had it wrapped. While all that was happening, the girl with the messy kitchen was already waiting for me at Starbucks.

Hurriedly, I went up the escalators-turned-stairs [they were turned off] and trued to wipe off my sweat and compose my self as I was looking for her in Starbucks. It turns out that she was the one surprising me as she came at me from behind.

I gave her her gifts and told her all the mushy stuff someone like me could muster. She seemed very much delighted and happy and that all the effort was worth it. 

The day turned out a success..and both parties were particularly happy. I'm glad I was able to pull this off.

Valentines Adventure..complete!
- the alansong -

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Let's Talk Figures!: M.A.R.S. Heroes

I happened to get info about these figs just last year. I never really got to seeing them around until the last few days of 2010.

M.A.R.S. Heroes are a group of three kinds of figures, Aliens, MegaBot and Troopers. I managed to get and complete the Aliens. I also got one of the Troopers and didnt get the other two as they really didn't look pleasing to me. The MegaBots are a bit harder to find.

Anyhoo, I don't really know if there's any backstory about these figures but i'm thinking it's kinda like ala-Starcraft type of storyline. Oh you know, 3 races, killing each other?

Let's move on shall we?

These figures are all standing tall around 4 inches, have 13 pieces and  interchangeable parts[!]. They all have simple ball joints for articulation. It's not much but it's enough.

M.A.R.S. Heroes: Aliens

First off are the Aliens and the one I would like to call "Big Blue".

Why "Big Blue"? It's not because he's any bigger than any of the others. His blue color just really stand out and he's the only one who wields a melee weapon.

See what I mean? Other than the shoulder-mounted..uh..thing he has. He has got a big "energy" type Axe. It looks simple but effective. His Axe fits both his "claws"/hands well.

As mentioned before, the have 13 pieces/parts that can be easily removed and interchangeable [weapons and shoulder mounts included of course!]. Since they're ball joints and sockets, it's not hard to put them back together.

You can create an abomination like the one above or a more normal creation! It's up to you. Anyway, I like "Big Blue" best. Not only does he remind me of the aliens from Titan AE but he is really menacing with his Energy Axe.

Next is "Agent Orange"...

Why the name? He's so goddamned orange! LOL Aside from his blaster and almost "Predator" inspired shoulder mount, he has the same articulation as the rest.

He doesn't have a melee weapon but he has a very distinct Blaster weapon that fits snugly on both his hands. Why did I say that his Blaster was very "distinct"?

His blaster looks like a Xenomorph from the ALIENS movies. I don't know why it looks like it but for me it's a pretty weird thing to do and have for a weapon.

The last Alien is "The Rookie",

Why name him "The Rookie"? It's because he's GREEN! Get it? don't..oh well..

He's the next Alien I like after Big Blue because he dual wields! He's the only Alien fig who has dual blasters and what looks like an actual Rocket shoulder mount.

Isn't dual-wielding so bad-ass? He's pretty much raring to go with guns/blasters blazing.

Moving on....

M.A.R.S. Heroes: Troopers

I managed to get only one of the three Trooper figures. Why? The other two had visible Humanoid heads and it felt like they wouldn't fit in among GI Joe and Marvel Universe figures I have. The one I bought seemed like it was the generic grunt, so let's name him that.

He looks more like a cyborg..maybe even a robot but he's part of the "Trooper" group. He is also the only one who has their helmet on.

Unlike the Aliens, the Troopers do not have Shoulder mounts. They do have two weapons. Unfortunately, their grip is a bit wide and the weapon handles are a bit thin. Hence they can't really hold the weapons well. One is a Blaster handgun while the other seems like a Laser weapon [which he is holding backwards OOPS!]. But I let them hold a few of the GI Joe vintage weapons I had [ones with wide handles] and they pretty much stayed put.

He looks pretty plain but he does offer a ton of customization. If I was any good at customizing, he'd be looking like Master Chief. Maybe do a few retouching or repaints on his helmet to add detail.

Since I didn't get the other two, I just bought three of the same figure instead. A squad of three is better than one [the 3rd fig is still inside its plastic prison though].

Wonder Gun powers...ACTIVATE!


I didn't grab a whole lot of them..yet. I collected all 3 types for the Aliens and 3 of the "Grunts" for the Troopers.

Articulation-wise, they're limited a bit but they can be moved and posed just enough for decent action shots. Accessory-wise, they don't have much but what they have is just enough.

 These Aliens are good as enemy fodder for GI Joe or Marvel Heroes if you troop build en masse. They can also be the main villains having a single Big Blue [as leader] and army build the rest. The "Grunts" are great army builders for a "Space Marine" type of army versus the Aliens. They can also be evil cyborgs versus GI Joe or Marvel Heroes.

It all boils down to your own perspective and imagination.

I'm still trying to look for any of the MegaBots and will prolly get a few more Grunts and Aliens. They're pretty much a nice addition to any 3.75/4inch collection. So it's a definite buy if you're into a little diversity and into sci-fi/futuristic figures.